Maura O'Halloran

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Maura "Soshin" O'Halloran
Maura O'Halloran

May 24, 1955
DiedOctober 22, 1982(1982-10-22) (aged 27)
Other namesSoshin
OccupationZen Buddhist monk

Maura "Soshin" O'Halloran (May 24, 1955 - October 22, 1982) was an Irish Zen Buddhist monk.[1] She is known for her book Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind, which was posthumously published, and for being one of the "first of few Western women allowed to practice in a traditional Japanese Zen monastery".[2]


O'Halloran was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1955 and her parents moved back to Ireland when she was four years old.[3] There she was educated in a convent school in County Dublin and later attended Trinity College Dublin, where she graduated with a joint degree in mathematical economics/statistics and sociology.[3] Shortly after her graduation O'Halloran traveled to northern Japan, where she studied to become a Zen monk at Toshoji in Tokyo and at Kannonji in the Iwate Prefecture.[3] In November 1979 she was given the Buddhist name of "Soshin", meaning something like "Genuine Heart/Mind". After a three-year period, on August 8, 1982, she decided to travel back to Ireland.[3] O'Halloran died in a traffic accident in Chiang Mai, Thailand on October 22, 1982.[4] After her death she was titled "Great Enlightened Lady, of the same heart and mind as the Great Teacher Buddha" and a statue was dedicated to her at the temple she studied at in Iwate Prefecture.[3]



  1. ^ Reynolds (editor), David K. (1993). Plunging Through the Clouds. State Univ of New York Press. p. 221. ISBN 0791413136.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Woodhouse, Mark (1 October 1999). "PAINTED CAKES: BUILDING A PATH TO BUDDHISM". Library Journal. 124, Issue 16 (16): 57.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bourke, Angela (2002). The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing - Volume 4. NYU Press. pp. 603, 617–619, 621–622. ISBN 081479906X.
  4. ^ O'Faolain, Nuala (2011). A Radiant Life: The Selected Journalism of Nuala O'Faolain. Harry N. Abrams. pp. 76–79. ISBN 0810998068.
  5. ^ Besserman, Perle (2007). A New Zen for Women. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 114. ISBN 1403972141.
  6. ^ "Pure Heart Enlightened Mind (Review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. ^ Elie, Paul (4 November 1994). "Title:Pure Heart, Enlightening Mind: The Zen Journals of Maura "Soshin" O'Halloran". Commonweal. 121 (2): 30. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  8. ^ Maughan, Shannon (23 June 1997). "Turning up the volume: led by an invigorated Audio Publishers Association, the audiobook industry made a strong showing". Publishers Weekly. 244 (25): 63.

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